FAQs

Frequently-Asked Questions


Location

What is the Luberon?

How big is the village of Bonnieux and what kind of facilities and services does it have?

Are there any books or movies you recommend to help us learn more about Provence and the Luberon?

Groups

How large are the groups?

What types of people go on The Luberon Experience?

The Luberon Experience week

What kind of transportation do you use for the groups?

Will we get to see other parts of Provence during the week besides the Luberon?

Accommodations

Where are the accommodations? Can we see pictures?

Can we request a room with twin beds?

I don’t do well on stairs. Do you have any ground floor rooms?

Food

What if you’re a vegetarian or have some special dietary need?

Travel Logistics

We want to spend a few other days in France before and after our Luberon Experience. What do you suggest? Can you recommend accommodations?

Is This Tour For Me?

I’m interested in gardens (or photography, history, painting, wine, hiking, cycling etc.). Can this be included on The Luberon Experience?

I walk with a cane. Will this trip work for me?

Can children come on this trip?

I’m considering coming alone. Would this be a good trip for a solo traveler?

Weather and Time of Year

What’s the weather like in the Luberon in May and early June?

Will the lavender be blooming?

What to Wear

What kinds of clothes will we need?

Booking and Paying for a Trip

Is airfare included in the trip price?

Do you take credit cards?

Is there a single supplement if I have a room on my own?

Cancellations

If you don’t get enough people, it is possible the tour would be cancelled?

What if something comes up and I need to cancel?

Other Trip Options

Could you do a private tour for a small group?

Leaders

Are your trips ever led by other guides?

Location

What is the Luberon?

The Luberon consists of a long, narrow mountain range and the area that lies around it, located in Provence in the south of France, north of France’s Mediterranean coast. The Luberon mountain range is about 35 miles long and runs east to west.

This area was designated as a “regional natural park” in 1977 to protect its heritage and natural beauty. The protected area covers about 230 square miles on either side of the mountain and includes 77 villages and towns. In 1997 the Luberon was designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve, one of 10 such areas in France.

How big is the village of Bonnieux and what kind of facilities and services does it have?

Bonnieux has a year-round population of about 1400 people and has a variety of services to support its residents and visitors. You’ll find a small grocery store, two bakeries, a butcher, a pharmacy, a post office and ATM machine, and many cafes, restaurants and shops. See here for more information about Bonnieux.

Are there any books or movies you recommend to help us learn more about Provence and the Luberon?

We can recommend a great resource! We’ve identified our favorites on Our Provence Store, our Amazon store where you can order a variety of books, movies, and travel accessories. Our list includes books written by British expat Peter Mayle, the movie A Good Year (filmed outside Bonnieux), a variety of maps and guidebooks, and Charley’s fun novel A Chateau in Provence.

Groups

How large are the groups?

Our typical group is 10-12 people, with a maximum of 14 participants.

What types of people go on The Luberon Experience?

We’ve hosted 35 groups since September 2006, involving over 350 people. Our trips attract travelers whose style and interests are similar: people who want quality over quantity, to do more than sightsee, to absorb the natural beauty in this special place, to experience the unique culture, and to have fun with other travelers. Group members have ranged in age from 18 to 80 and have included solo travelers, couples, and friends and family members. Our travelers have come from all over the USA (40 states and counting!), Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

The Luberon Experience week

What kind of transportation do you use for the groups?

Our groups travel in two nine-passenger air-conditioned vans. Kathy and Charley each drive a van.

Will we get to see other parts of Provence during the week besides the Luberon?

There is so much to experience right in the Luberon, and we wanted our week to focus on experiencing the area—not on driving several hours a day to see more distant spots in Provence.

We take one longer day trip one day during our week to visit another beautiful area in Provence called the Alpilles, centered around another small mountain chain. The Alpilles is about an hour west of Bonnieux. We visit several Roman sites and also the peaceful sanitarium where Van Gogh spent a year before his death and painted some of his most famous works.

Many of our travelers visit other parts of Provence before or after their week with us. You could easily visit Avignon, Arles, Aix-en-Provence or Marseille without needing a car.

Accommodations

Where are the accommodations? Can we see pictures?

Our group stays in a wonderful eight-room guesthouse right in the village of Bonnieux. We don’t advertise the specifics on our website, but we’re happy to share information and photos if you’re seriously considering our trip.

Can we request a room with twin beds?

All of our rooms offer one big bed, and five rooms can be configured with twin beds. Just let us know your needs when you make your reservation.

I don’t do well on stairs. Do you have any ground floor rooms?

Two rooms are on the ground floor, involving only two or three steps. The rest of the rooms are on the first floor, accessed by stairs. Be sure to let us know if you prefer a ground floor room.

Food

What if you’re a vegetarian or have some special dietary need?

Before the trip we’ll ask you for information on any dietary issues or food preferences.  We can accommodate most diets, but if you have very serious restrictions, please let us know before you book the trip so we can decide together if this is the right vacation for you.

Travel Logistics

We want to spend a few other days in France before and after our Luberon Experience. What do you suggest? Can you recommend accommodations?

Most of our travelers spend some time in Paris before or after joining us, and the TGV high-speed train system makes this very easy. Avignon and Aix-en-Provence would be good bases for people who want to enjoy a larger town in Provence. Some of our travelers also want to spend time on the Mediterranean Sea, and there are numerous options along the coast that can be reached by train.

We have a list of suggested accommodations in Avignon and Aix based on recommendations from other travelers, and we’re happy to share these recommendations with you. You may also want to get help from a travel consultant. Sandy McDowell of France Journeys works with many of our travelers and is an excellent resource to help plan other travel in France.

Is This Tour For Me?

I’m interested in gardens (or photography, history, painting, wine, hiking, cycling etc.). Can this be included on The Luberon Experience?

We’ll ask you to tell us more about your interests a few months before the trip. We’d also love to know about any special interest at the time you book the trip. Because our groups are fairly small and we have two leaders and two vans, we have more flexibility than many other tours. We’ve always do our best to support the personal interests of all our travelers, including all the areas included in this question.

I walk with a cane. Will this trip work for me?

Possibly.  It depends on your mobility and energy level. We can provide a ground floor room and accommodate some physical limitations, but all of our travelers do need to have reasonable mobility. Most of the Luberon villages are built on hills, and parking lots are often on the edge of the village. Some streets are cobblestone.

You should be able to walk about a mile in the course of a day, sometimes on uneven surfaces or hills. You can always choose to skip a more strenuous activity, and we always offer another interesting option when hiking is a possible activity.

Can children come on this trip?

Sorry—no. The Luberon Experience isn’t designed for children. We would potentially consider an older, mature teenager, but we would want to talk with you to ensure this would be a good fit and a positive experience for everyone.

The Luberon is a fantastic destination for a family vacation. Our daughter has been with us on family trips to this area many, many times since she was nine years old. Although our trip isn’t suitable for families, we can help you plan an independent trip for your family. Contact us for details.

I’m considering coming alone. Would this be a good trip for a solo traveler?

This is an ideal trip for a person traveling alone. We have solo travelers in most of our groups, and they tell us that they have a wonderful time. Our groups have an easy camaraderie and we make sure that everyone always feels included.

Weather and Time of Year

What’s the weather like in the Luberon in May and early June?

In late May and early June, temperatures in the Luberon typically reach the mid 70’s to low 80’s with overnight lows in the mid 50’s to low 60’s. Most days are sunny and bright and very pleasant. Although rain has never had a major impact on any of our trips at this time of year, we have experienced a few brief showers. We could also experience the famous “Mistral” winds at any time of year. When this happens, it’s always an interesting part of the experience!

Will the lavender be blooming?

Probably not. In early June you may see just a hint of purple on the lavender plants. Lavender usually blooms in this area from late June to late July, though it did bloom in early June in 2011. However, you’ll probably see poppies, which we think are even more spectacular! Many other flowers are also blooming at this time of year.

What to Wear

What kinds of clothes will we need?

Dress in Provence and for our trip is quite informal. Women don’t need dressy clothes, heeled shoes, or expensive jewelry; men don’t need a sports jacket or tie. For our daytime activities we suggest that our travelers dress very comfortably and informally in slacks and casual shirts/tops. Jeans are fine for daytime activities. Shorts are fine on warmer days, especially if we have an active day; capris are a good alternative for women. For nice dinners, many women dress up an outfit with a scarf or shawl.

We provide more detailed guidance on dress and packing in the Travelers Guidebook we send before the trip.

Booking and Paying for a Trip

Is airfare included in the trip price?

No. Our travelers come to Provence from all over the world and everyone has a different itinerary before and after their week with us.

Do you take credit cards?

Although we do prefer personal checks, we now accept Pay Pal if that works better for you. This provides an easy payment method for our travelers from outside the USA and for those would like to pay by credit card.

Is there a single supplement if I have a room on my own?

All the rooms are set up as doubles, and we pay the same whether it is occupied by one person or two. For this reason, we do need to charge more for single occupancy of the room.

Cancellations

If you don’t get enough people, it is possible the tour would be cancelled?

We don’t believe in cancelling tours. Your tour is confirmed when you book, and we will be there regardless of the number of people! Our first two groups in 2006 were quite small, but our typical group is 10-14 people.

What if something comes up and I need to cancel?

Be sure you’re familiar with our cancellation policies, described here. We strongly recommend that all our travelers carry cancellation insurance. Insure My Trip is a great online resource to compare and purchase travel insurance that meets your needs.

Other Trip Options

Could you do a private tour for a small group?

Maybe. We can sometimes lead private tours for groups of up to seven people in September and early October. Contact us to talk about possibilities. To ensure ideal accommodations, these tours should be booked nine to twelve months in advance.

Leaders

Are your trips ever led by other guides?

No. We believe in leading our own tours. If you join our Luberon Experience trip, we’ll be right there with you.